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More than 5,000 Israelis will be in London for this weekend's England vs Israel soccer Euro 2008 qualifier, but, with only two days until the game, some 1,500 tickets are still available in the Israel section of Wembley Stadium, where the match will be held.
The official ticket agency of the Israel Football Association said that despite an expectation of high demand, it has been unable to sell all of the 6,800 tickets allocated to the IFA by the English Football Association.
Avi Messing, manager of the Leaan ticket agency said just over 5,000 Israel tickets have been bought and blamed the situation on a lack of space on planes flying to England this weekend and the high prices of flights.
"There just wasn't enough room on the flights and the airlines increased the prices of flights, so many people couldn't afford them," Messing told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
However, Leaan has refused to return the remaining tickets to the English FA and they will be made available for Israelis in London, on a first come first served basis, on Friday evening and Saturday morning.
Any Israeli who can produce a valid Israeli ID card will be able buy a ticket at the face value prices of Â£60 or Â£72 from the lobby of the Hilton Metropole Hotel on Edgware Rd. in central London between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday or 10 a.m and 12 p.m. on Saturday.
Ori Barak from specialist sports travel agent ISSTA Sport said he was surprised by the lack of interest in the package deals ISSTA was selling for the game.
"As far as we are concerned, it is not a big hit," Barak said. "We thought there would be a lot more traffic. I think most of the tickets in the Israel section have been bought by people who are already in London or planned to be there. It is not a flood of travel like we thought it would be."
However, Mark Feldman, CEO of Jerusalem-based travel agency Ziontours, claimed the demand has been unprecedented for an event of this kind.
Feldman said he has never seen this much interest in people wanting to travel to a soccer game and has found it very difficult to find flights to satisfy the demand.
He has been arranging for clients to travel to London through Europe in order to be able to attend the game.